Sydney Opera House releases milestone conservation plan

Sydney Opera House - photo by Hamilton Lund AAR CMPThe Sydney Opera House has unveiled the fourth edition of its Conservation Management Plan (CMP), which provides detailed guidance on conservation and management at an important moment in its Decade of Renewal.

The CMP Fourth Edition – Respecting the Vision: Sydney Opera House – A Conservation Management Plan – has been authored by architect and highly respected heritage expert Alan Croker and builds on the Third Edition (2003), written by the late James Semple Kerr – widely regarded as having set a new international standard for excellence in conservation management.

The updated CMP features a number of new tools to help the Opera House manage change as it adapts to current and future needs. This includes Tolerance and Opportunities for Change assessment tables, which will inform day-to-day decisions for each component of the Opera House building and site – everything from the carpets in the Northern Foyers to acoustic features in the Concert Hall.

“Utzon’s vision was not only to provide space for the performing arts, but to elevate and celebrate them. He designed the building to express this and it is a performance in itself,” said CMP author, Alan Croker. “The updated CMP provides guidance on how to care for the place and manage future change so that Utzon’s vision is retained and respected.:

“Its continued use as Australia’s pre-eminent performing arts centre is crucial to this vision. Its role as a tourist destination is also important and the CMP provides guidance on all of these, including large and small-scale external events.”

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said: “The Opera House is a World-Heritage masterpiece of human creative genius. When you experience the artistic genius of the performers and works on stage, surrounded by the architectural genius of the building itself, that’s when the magic is realised.

“Along with the Utzon Design Principles, the updated CMP is our guide and compass as we undertake the physical renewal of the building, which is essential to ensure the masterpiece can continue to live on, inspiring artists, audiences and visitors for many years to come.”

“Together, they help us to better understand the vision and intent of Opera House architect, Jørn Utzon and the contributions made by Peter Hall in its completion, so we can honour and manage the building, while delivering the best possible experience for the millions who enjoy it each year.”

“Renewal represents the largest program of building works since the Opera House opened in 1973 and all projects have been developed in line with both the Third and this Fourth Edition.”

The latest CMP was endorsed by the NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Don Harwin MLC and the NSW Heritage Council. It also involved extensive consultation with the Opera House’s Conservation Council, a specially appointed expert peer-review panel, representatives of relevant statutory bodies, the public, staff and other key stakeholders.

The Opera House’s comprehensive implementation plan for the CMP includes dedicated staff briefings and a newly developed e-learning module, which will be ready in the coming months.

For more information on the CMP Fourth Edition, visit: for details.

Image: Sydney Opera House – photo by Hamilton Lund